Where is the Time for God?
Years ago, when I was in high school, one Friday night I was out with a couple of friends at Webb’s Diner. In a little town near ours, this was the place where teenagers who either could drive, or had a friend old enough to drive, went to meet. We’d sit in the booths, drop quarters in the table-side juke boxes, and talk. Of course, if you wanted to stay there, you had to order something, so I always asked for an order of cheese fries and a Dr. Pepper.
One night I remember that we ran into a guy we knew from another school who had returned home from college for the weekend. It was his freshman year. “How’s college?” someone asked. And he said, “Well, those tests come ‘round pretty regularly.” Clearly, they were not English tests. But, I discovered the truth of his statement in the next years, and I’ve now concluded, that this goes on for the rest of our lives.
The other day I heard a fellow describe an interview where a prospective candidate responded as if “he saddled his horse, and rode off in all directions.” In ministry, it often feels as though we’ve saddled and then straddled three horses that’ve headed off in all directions. There are sermons, visits, classes, meetings and reports. And I am acutely aware that my life is no busier than your lives.
With Lent on the way, my real concern isn’t the amount any of us have to do, although it’s clear some of us “over-do”. My hope is that we take time for God in our busy schedules. Also important is that we take the time to ask, “What is the purpose that is guiding our work?” Are we “glorifying God and enjoying God forever” as the Catechism charges us to do?
A prayer by Thomas Merton comes to mind when I consider Psalm 23 each evening. Maybe this will be as helpful to you as it has been for me since I discovered it. Peace to you today in whatever situation you find yourself. And remember, when “those tests come ‘round”, you will not be facing them alone.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”